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MEFA Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

MEFA loans don't offer deferment or forbearance, so they're best for borrowers with strong job security or prospects.
Sept. 13, 2019
Loans, Student Loans
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The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, known as MEFA, offers student loan refinancing and private student loans for undergrads and graduate students across all 50 U.S. states.

Here we review MEFA’s refinance loan; you’ll find a review of its private student loan below.

Review of MEFA’s private student loan

MEFA student loan refinancing

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for borrowers with a stable income who don’t have a degree.

MEFA
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 3.85% - 7.1%
Variable: 3.65% - 6.9%
Loan terms7, 10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$10,000 up to your total outstanding debt
Co-signer release availableNo
Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • No late fees.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

CONS

  • No formal deferment/forbearance options.
  • No co-signer release.

Full Review

Unlike most other private lenders, MEFA doesn’t let borrowers pause payments temporarily through deferment or forbearance. That means refinancing with MEFA is best for those with stable income who don’t foresee needing breathing room in the future.

You don’t have to have graduated to refinance with MEFA. But you must have made one year’s worth of on-time payments toward your loans. You’re also ineligible if you’ve defaulted on student loans in the past.

MEFA student loan refinancing at a glance

  • Borrowers without a degree can refinance.
  • No late fees.
  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

How MEFA could improve

MEFA could improve its student loan refinance product by offering:

How much can refinancing save?

MEFA student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
  • Loan terms: 7, 10 or 15 years.
  • Loan amounts: $10,000 up to your total outstanding debt.
  • Can transfer a parent loan to the child: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: No.

Compare MEFA’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate MEFA will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 670.
  • Minimum income: $24,000 per year.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after five years.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Must have graduated: No.
  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

You must have repaid loans for at least 12 months before you can refinance them with MEFA and have no history of student loan default.

  • Academic deferment: No.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Forbearance: No, but MEFA says it will work with borrowers on a case-by-case basis to modify their payment plans if long-term affordability is a concern.
  • Co-signer release available: No.
  • Death or disability discharge available: Yes, if there is no co-signer. Otherwise, the co-signer takes on responsibility.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows bi-weekly payments via autopay: No.
    • Loan servicer: American Education Services.
    • In-house customer service team: Yes.
    • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.
    • Average time from approval to payoff: 14 to 21 days.

    How to refinance with MEFA

    You can apply for a MEFA refinanced student loan on its website. Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

    MEFA private student loan

    4.0 NerdWallet rating

    Bottom line: Best for students who expect stable income after graduation.

    MEFA
    Type of loanPrivate student loan
    Loan terms10 or 15 years
    Loan amountsMinimum: $2,000 for a private college, $1,500 for a public college; maximum: total cost of attendance minus other financial aid
    Grace period6 months for undergraduates
    Co-signer release availableYes, but only available with one repayment plan
    Related productsGraduate student loans

    Pros & Cons

    PROS

    • No late fees.

    CONS

    • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
    • Only one repayment plan offers co-signer release.

    Full Review

    MEFA private student loans don’t offer deferment or forbearance if you have trouble affording payments. That makes MEFA a good choice only for those who expect a stable income after graduation.

    Despite being a state-based organization, MEFA private student loans are available to students no matter where they go to school. MEFA offers fixed interest rates only, which means they’ll stay the same over the life of the loan.

    MEFA private student loan at a glance

    • Offers fixed interest rates only.
    • Co-signer release is only available if you select the deferred repayment with co-signer release option when you apply.
    • No deferment or forbearance programs are available.

    How MEFA could improve

    MEFA could improve its student loan product by:

    • Offering forbearance for borrowers facing an economic hardship.
    • Offering co-signer release on all repayment options.
    • Allowing borrowers to make greater-than-minimum and biweekly payments via autopay.

    MEFA private student loan details

    • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.
    • Loan terms: 10 or 15 years.
    • Loan amounts: $1,500 minimum for a public school; $2,000 minimum for a private school. Borrowers can take out up to the school’s cost of attendance, minus other aid received.
    • Application or origination fee: No.
    • Prepayment penalty: No.
    • Late fees: No.

    Compare MEFA’s range of interest rates with other private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate MEFA will offer you, apply on its website.

    Financial

    • Minimum credit score: 670.
    • Minimum income: $25,100.
    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after five years have passed.

    Other

    • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states.
    • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
    • Types of schools served: Any school authorized to receive federal aid.
    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 98%.

    In-school repayment options

    • Immediate: Begin making full monthly payments while still in school. Choose between 10-year and 15-year terms.
    • Deferred: You won’t be required to make any payments until your six-month grace period ends, but you can choose to make payments if you’d like. Interest will accrue while you’re in school and will capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period. This option comes with a 15-year term.
    • Deferred with co-signer release: Similar to the option above, but this plan allows a co-signer to request release after 48 consecutive on-time payments have been made. This option comes with a 15-year term.
    • Interest-only: Pay only the interest while in school. Begin paying down the principal balance after you graduate or leave school. This option comes with a 15-year term.

    Post-school repayment options

    • Grace period: 6 months, but only for the deferred repayment options.
    • In-school deferment: Borrowers can request to defer payments for up to 12 months if they return to school to complete their degree.
    • Military deferment: Yes.
    • Forbearance: No.
    • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 48 consecutive on-time payments, but only with the deferred with co-signer release repayment plan.
    • Death or disability discharge available: Yes, if there is no co-signer. Otherwise, the co-signer takes on responsibility.

    Repayment preferences

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: No.
    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

    • Loan servicer: American Education Services.
    • In-house customer service team: Yes.
    • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.
    • Average time for approval: Did not disclose.

    How to apply for a MEFA student loan

    You can apply for a MEFA student loan on its website. Before taking out a MEFA student loan or any other private loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

    » MORE: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide

    Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

    STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY

    NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines

    5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

    4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

    4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

    3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

    3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

    2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution